Vaagheid Endstra-Tapes is Irrelevant (Vagueness of Endstra-Tapes is Irrelevant)

NRC 10 August 2013

1 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2013 Last revised: 18 Dec 2013

Date Written: August 10, 2013


Commentaar op de Endstra-Tapes zaak over de vraag of op de 'achterbankgesprekken' auteursrecht rust. De auteur meent van wel en bekritiseert de uitspraak van het Hof Den Haag van 16 juli 2013 (Endstra v Nieuw Amsterdam).

Open-Ed letter to the well-known Dutch newspaper NRC on the 'Endstra-Tapes', one of the longest running copyright cases in the Netherlands. The case turns on the question whether the heirs of a murdered citizen can prevent a publisher from exploiting and publishing over 10 'taped conversations' between the citizen and the police. The key question is whether conversations are eligible for copyright protection. The author provides a critical comment on the decision of the Court of Appeal The Hague of 16 July 2013 (Endstra v Nieuw Amsterdam). Pursuant to the author, the specific circumstances in this case warrant copyright protection and the Court of Appeal failed to properly apply the correct requirements: it specifically slams the Court's reasoning that copyright protection should be denied on the basis that the conversations were 'difficult to grasp' and 'incomprehensible'. The author argues that 'incomprehensible' creations can also qualify for copyright protection, pointing to both 'incomprehensible' poetry and the 'incomprehensible' prose of the well-known Dutch footballer and commentator Johan Cruyff. The author concludes that allowing copyright protection in this particular case was justified. This does not mean we should push for an over-expansive doctrine of 'big copyright'. Instead the aim should be on developing a copyright system which is both fair and flexible, balancing both private interests of copyright owners as well as public interests such as the freedom of information.

Note: Downloadable document is in Dutch.

Keywords: copyright, work, copyrighted work, infringement, conversations, Endstra, freedom of information, auteursrecht, werk, auteursrechtelijk beschermd werk, gesprekken, Endstra, vrijheid van informatie

JEL Classification: K20, K42

Suggested Citation

Tsoutsanis, Alexander, Vaagheid Endstra-Tapes is Irrelevant (Vagueness of Endstra-Tapes is Irrelevant) (August 10, 2013). NRC 10 August 2013, Available at SSRN:

Alexander Tsoutsanis (Contact Author)

DLA Piper ( email )

Amstelveenseweg 638
Amsterdam, 1081 JJ


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